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Friends of the Amherst College Library Records, 1938-
4 archives boxes (3.5 linear ft.)

Correspondence regarding the formation of the group, minutes of meetings, financial and membership records, newsletters, other publications, and information regarding activities sponsored by the Friends of the Library.

Terms of Access and Use:

Restrictions on access:

In general there is no restriction on access to these records.

Restrictions on use:

Requests for permission to publish material from the records should be directed to the Archives and Special Collections.

Amherst College Archives and Special Collections

Historical Note
1930 The William Wordsworth Collection of Cornelius H. Patton (AC 1883) is acquired.
1931 N.F. McKeon is appointed Instructor in the English Department. Many Lord Jeffery Amherst public papers (copies) and some manuscripts are acquired.
King and Turner House libraries are installed in North and South College dormitories.
George Daniel Olds Memorial Library (Mathematics) established in Walker Hall.
1934 N.F. McKeon's connection with the library begins. He continues to teach. Morrow dormitory library is dedicated October, 1934. The Olds Mathematics Library is established.
1935-39 Henry deForest Smith serves as Library Director. Robert S. Fletcher is on medical leave.
1935 The Hitchcock Memorabilia Room in the Morgan Library is completed.
The Pratt Library is completed. A Freshman Reading Room is made available on the third floor of Williston Hall. The Delta Kappa Epsilon Library is established, Amherst's only college-supervised library in a fraternity.
The Hitchcock Memorial Room is created in Morgan Hall to house the College Memorabilia Collection. It is a gift from Arthur N. Milliken (AC 1880).
1937 "Report on the Urgent Needs of the Library" (N.F. McKeon, Assistant to Director of the Library and Secretary of the Faculty Committee on the Library) March, 1937. Trustees approve and fund an extension to Converse.
1938 Converse Memorial Library extension is completed (Architect: James Kelum Smith (AC 1915) of McKim, Mead & White).
N.F. McKeon is appointed Director of the Library. First direct borrowing privileges to Amherst, Smith, and Mount Holyoke faculty are approved this year.
First local interlibrary loan code is agreed upon.
1941 The four house libraries (North, South, Morrow, Pratt) are closed during World War II.
1942 Folger Shakespeare Library material is stored in Converse during the war.
The Amherst College Library becomes a depository for maps distributed by the Army Map Service (later the Defense Mapping Agency).
The stored Folger Shakespeare Library material is removed from Converse Library.
The four house libraries (North, South, Morrow, Pratt) are re-opened, and house libraries are also opened in James and Stearns.
Post-war rules for reporting holdings to the Library of Congress for the National Union Catalog are changed; before the war the College reported all holdings; new emphasis is on foreign publications and early imprints.
Amherst Massachusetts, Imprints 1825-1876 is published by Newton F. McKeon and Katherine Cowles.
1947 The new curriculum begins (used until 1967).
Steel stack is installed in the West Basement.
A regular report on Converse Library is included in the President's Report from 1949-1950 to 1975.
Hugh C. Pritchard is appointed the first reference librarian at Amherst.
The Place of a Library in a University is published. N.F. McKeon is a contributing author.
1951 The Hampshire Interlibrary Center (HILC) is incorporated September 26. Original members are Amherst, Mount Holyoke, and Smith Colleges (UMass joins in 1954, The Forbes Library in 1962, and Hampshire College in 1970). The HILC Collection is originally housed in the Mount Holyoke College Library and moves to the UMass Goodell Library early in the 1960s.
1952 The Richmond Mayo-Smith Room in Converse Library is dedicated on October 26.
A basement Reading Room is opened containing 50 carrels for honors seniors.
New lighting is installed in the Reading and Reserve Rooms and over the card catalogue.
Amherst College and The University of Massachusetts develop a code for borrowing from each other's libraries.
Supervision of the dormitory libraries by student attendants is discontinued.
"The Nature of the College Library Book Collection" (N.F. McKeon) in The Function of the Library in the Modern College. Also in Library Quarterly vol. 24, no. 4, October 1954.
HILC messenger service is begun on a semi-weekly basis.
HILC hires a full-time staff member.
A collection of spoken-word recordings and equipment for listening are installed in the English Seminar.
The Emily Dickinson manuscript collection is received from Millicent Todd Bingham.
G. Armour Craig serves as Library Director during the spring semester while N.F. McKeon is on sabbatical.
Six skylights in Converse Library are eliminated.
The first version of a plan to enlarge the library is drafted.
University of Massachusetts graduate and undergraduate students may borrow only via interlibrary loan.
Study facilities in Churchill House are provided for 53 honors seniors.
A small glass and steel enclosure is installed in the southwest corner of the lobby creating Amherst's first Reference Office.
1960 The Asian-African Studies Program, funded by the Ford Foundation, is undertaken by the four Colleges.
1961 Early shipments of the Marshall Bloom Alternative Press Collection are received.
Two anonymous donors give $3,500,000 for construction of a new library on the Walker Hall site.
It is decided that the new library will be named after Robert Frost.
The northeast basement
1963 Convocation and groundbreaking ceremonies for the Robert Frost Library take place on October 26. President John F. Kennedy is the speaker.
1964 Many Robert Frost books and manuscripts are received in this period, most notably the extensive Frost Collection of Jack W.C. Hagstrom.
Dedication of the Robert Frost Library, October 25 (Architect: O'Connor and Kilham, New York; Contractor: George B.H. Macomber Company, Boston).
The College Archives are moved from Morgan Hall to the Frost Library.
Borrowing by University graduate students is allowed only at their dean's request.
Users of the Frost Library are screened for admittance at an entrance gate.
J. Richard Phillips, Amherst's first professional Special Collections librarian, is appointed.
Sociology is added to the curriculum.
The first installments of the Abbott Van Nostrand Theater Collection are received.
The Friends of the Amherst College Library is founded.
The Music Library, formerly in the Octagon, re-opens in the new music building.
The Science Library, consolidating Astronomy, Chemistry and Physics collections formerly in the Observatory, Moore, and Fayerweather buildings, opens in Merrill Science Center.
The Four College Libraries Union List of Journal and Serial Holdings is first published (later editions appeared in print in 1971, 1972, 1974, 1975, and 1978, appeared in microfilm from 1979-1994, and online, as part of the Five College Online Catalog, beginning in 1995).
Newton F. McKeon, Director of the Library since 1939, retires.
Richard J. Cody is appointed Librarian of the College (1970-1974).
Charles T. Laugher is appointed Director of the Library (1970-1975).
Selected Hampshire College students are allowed full borrowing privileges at Amherst.
The Frost Library is occupied by black students of the Five College community on February 18, 1970.
1971 Audio-visual services are established in Frost on Level B (film study was added to the curriculum in 1972).
1972 Robert Frost Library Fellowships begin.
1973 Reciprocal direct borrowing privileges are instituted for all Five College students.
The Trustees decide that Amherst will become coeducational. The first women are admitted as transfer students in the fall of 1975. The first women are admitted to the freshman class beginning in the fall of 1976.
The library joins OCLC (originally Ohio College Library Center; currently Online Computer Library Center) for cataloguing purposes.
The library discontinues use of the Dewey Decimal System, and adopts the Library of Congress classification.
Willis E. Bridegam, Jr. assumes the position of Librarian of the College on August 1.
The Library Council is established.
The Library joins NELINET (New England Library Information Network).
The Five College Librarians Council is established.
HILC is moved to the Robert Frost Library.
A report by four consultants titled "A View of HILC and its Future" is received by Five Colleges, Inc. Four Consultants: Richard De Gennaro, Director of Libraries at the University of Pennsylvania; Donald B. Engley, Associate University Librarian at Yale University; David Kaser, Professor in the Graduate School of Indiana University; and Louis Martin, Librarian of Harvard College.
Annual Reviews of academic periodical subscriptions are begun; 149 subscriptions are canceled in the first year of review.
The Frost Librarians council is asked to study total Five College library cooperation, including HILC and automated library systems.
1977 The Five College Librarians Council undertakes a survey of Five College Library Cooperation; "Report on Five College Library Cooperation" is issued in March.
Implementation of HILC dispersal decisions recommended by the Librarians Council begins.
The College Archives are given a mandate by the Board of Trustees.
Dormitory library collections which were catalogued are moved to Frost Library
HILC Dispersal is begun.
HILC offices move from Frost Library to the Five College Center, Spring Street.
Dispersal of the Hampshire Interlibrary Center Collection to members is completed.
AACR2 is adopted for cataloguing by the Library.
Five Colleges, Inc. contracts with OCLC to develop a Five College Automated Library System
The Neuroscience collection is moved from the Science Library in Merrill Center and integrated with the Biology collection to become the Biology-Neuroscience Library in Webster.
1983 Administration and operation of the Language Laboratory is transferred from the Romance Languages Department to the Library.
Grants are received from the Pew Foundation ($10,500) and Culpepper Foundation ($53,000) for conversion of card catalogue records to machine-readable form.
Olds Mathematics Library moves to the new Seeley Mudd Building.
1985 Frost Library, Level C is finished for book storage, and compact shelving is installed.
Frost C-level is opened to the public; most books in the Dewey classification are moved to Level C.
A Culpepper grant ($100,000) is received for Five College conversion of
catalogue records.
The Reserves Area of Level A in Frost Library is remodeled and expanded.
Microforms are moved from the first floor of Frost Library to a larger area on Level A (near Reserves).
Satellite TV is installed.
A Long-Range Planning Committee composed of Library staff is established to study Library space needs.
The Fine Arts Library moves from Mead Art Museum and is integrated into Frost Library.
First Five College online catalog and circulation system (LS/2000) is installed.
The card catalog is frozen as of December 19, 1988; new titles available only online thereafter.
The circulation system in LS/2000 is the first part of the new system to be implemented in Frost Library, Fall 1989.
The Library Expansion Committee is formed.
Monographs and backfiles of many journals in the Biology-Neuroscience Library are moved to Frost Library.
Circulation and Reserve functions in LS/2000 are fully automated and operational.
Library gains responsibility for maintaining and replacing all classroom media equipment on campus, as part of the expanded services of the Audio-Visual Department.
Library Expansion Committee Report is issued.
Childs Bertram Tseckares Inc (CBT), architects, complete preliminary plans for expansion of the Frost Library.
1992 Thomas P. Whitney (AC 1937) established and endowment and donates monographs, serials, and manuscript material to establish the Amherst Center for Russian Culture.
The College's Priorities and Planning Committee report is issued, establishing Library expansion as a first priority, but recommending the use of existing buildings.
The Trustees approve a fifteen-year plan which will provide off-site storage, a central Science Library, and the renovation of Frost Library.
The second Five College automated library system is installed (Innovative Interfaces Inc., III)
The Depository opens in the renovated Air Force Stategic Air Command bunker in the Holyoke Range. It serves as an off-campus storage facility, connected by a daily delivery service.
The Library establishes its first web site, giving it an internet presence.
Robert Frost Library is renovated. William H. Rowe & Associates serves as architect; Marois Construction serves as general contractor.
The Science Library in Merrill Center (previously for Astronomy, Chemistry and Physics) is expanded to include Psychology, Biology/neuroscience, and Geology.
The Frost Library and Science Library rededication ceremony is held on October 28.
Folger Undergraduate Fellowship for study at the Folger Shakespeare Library established by the Friends of the Amherst College Library and the Folger.
1996 Five Colleges, Inc. receives a $1.1 million grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for the five libraries to explore "Consortial Training and Collaborative Collection Development," which includes components for digitization of unique primary source materials held in each library, a cooperative Five College database purchase, and Five College Multimedia Access projects.
Requests for books from any Five College Library may be made directly through the online catalogue, with the books delivered to the requester's home library.
The Library begins to use the integrated online system for Acquisitions in III.
The Science Library in Merrill science Center is named for Harry V. Keefe, Jr. (AC 1943), for his gift to the College in memory of his classmate and friend, Bruce B. Benson (AC 1943), Professor of Physics, 1947-1999.
The Serial System in III becomes operational. The paper check-in system is discontinued.
The Library establishes a liaison program with academic departments for enhancing communication and collection development.
The Amherst Center for Russian Culture opens in the newly renovated Webster Building, housing the extensive Russian book and manuscript collections Acquired in 1992 from Thomas P. Whitney (AC 1937).
The 1998 NEAS&C reaccreditation report for the College identifies the Library as a major college strength: "A first-class and well-supported college library, outstanding museum and archival resources."
The Fine Arts Slide Collection is renamed the Visual Resources Department to reflect the expansion of services provided, including creation of and access to electronic images.
Five College library cooperation is reviewed as part of an independent review of the consortial arrangements of Five Colleges, Inc.
The Friends of the Amherst College Library web site is established.
The second phase of renovation of the Depository is completed (to be occupied By the art collections while Mead undergoes renovations); the Library will begin to move in 2000.
Visual Resources Department is temprarily relocated to the Frost Library, awaiting the creation of a new space in the renovation of Fayerweather.
Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Friends of the Amherst College Library Records, totaling 3.5 linear feet, document the formation, history, and activities of the group. Correspondence regarding the formation of a Friends group during the McKeon Administration (1938-1970) is sizeable. There is considerably less correspondence from the Laugher administration (1970-1975), and none from the Bridegam administration (1975 to date). The Bridegam administration is represented in files such as the minutes of meetings, financial and membership records, the Newsletter of the Friends of the Amherst College Library, other Friends' publications, and information regarding many events and activities sponsored by the Friends of the Library to date.

Information on Use
Terms of Access and Use
Restrictions on access:

In general there is no restriction on access to these records.

Restrictions on use:

Requests for permission to publish material from the records should be directed to the Archives and Special Collections.

Preferred Citation

Please use the following format when citing materials from this collection:

[Identification of item], in Friends of the Amherst College Library Records [Box #, Folder #], Amherst College Archives and Special Collections, Amherst College Library

History of the Collection

Additional Information
Contact Information
Amherst College Archives and Special Collections
Robert Frost Library
PO Box 5000
Amherst, MA 01002-5000

Phone: (413) 542-2299
Fax: (413) 542-2692

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